Or how I came to hate warnings. By Goyland Williams I was warned. They told me how unprepared the students were. How most of the students were non-traditional. Not prepared. Eighty percent on financial aid. Not prepared. A Hispanic-Serving Institution. They told me how the students would struggle in class because they lacked the resources…
I can admit I’m guilty of them all at some point, except manic cheeriness; that would never happen. My resting broad face will tell you just how I’m feeling.
Can you admit to any? What can we do to repress the need to lie to ourselves?
You are beautiful, but is that all to you? What does your heart look like? How do you treat people? What lies within your soul? You are beautiful, but aren’t we all? What is there to you besides your beauty? –Karen Owusu
photo ©Aea Baba
I met a young lady a few weeks ago who broke my heart. A little. Since my arms were full, she – let’s call her Angel – greeted me with a warm half hug and a loving cheek squish followed up with a shower of compliments to my freshly chopped low fade. Angel went on to say she’d been natural before, but her husband (let’s call him Dick) told her to “go back.”
*sings whatcha say to me??! in my Sampha voice*
Smoothing her gelled nape, she claimed to be a lil rebel who let it get a little nappy before scheduling a retouch. Somehow I maintained an engaged, non-wtf expression as my stomach sunk a bit. We ended the segment with Angel saying she’d again return natural… one day.
Now I am no relationship expert but I know enough to know that when you love and when you’re in love, looks do not matter as much as they might when you’re an outsider looking in. But I also understand that you don’t want to lose who you were initially attracted to, especially if it entails sacrificing your lover’s health, right Dick?! Like gaining an unhealthy amount of weight or going in for elective surgeries, suctions and injections. I’ve seen men watch their wives wither away from cancer and chemo treatments, holding on even after her last heartbeat. So I know for a fact, through the eyes of a good person, character (and love) trumps appearance E V E R Y time.
But a relaxer? Dammit Dick! C’mon! I’m not judging (I’m judging) because Angel let you take the undeserved W, but really, you both lost. And what if you have a son? OMG what if you two have a daughter?! Or twin girls?? What will your choices + ideals teach them? Angel and I didn’t get that deep, but I’m guessing your views hurt her enough to open up to a stranger about her husband’s negative opinion. It’s fair to say I met a real life Unhappy Wife.
I think we, Black people in the year 2017, know that CHEMICALLY relaxing + perming, especially for a long period of time, has great risks. We have to. If you don’t, please come out from under that huge rock, step into the 21st century + educate yourself. Look at the photos of the sometimes irreversible damage to our hair, scalp and psyche. I’d be all #teamhubby if you’d met and fell for an all natural Angel and she was now sporting a relaxer. But that’s not the case. Even if she’s a natural mess (which is tragic, but workwithable), Dick, you as her friend and life partner should have been tirelessly hunting down the nearest natural hair stylist and/or helping Angel find a formula to ease her hair struggles! You know, putting good use to some of those vows you took. I promise you it’s not that difficult with Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook, Google, Bing, yahoo! answers, the girl with the fro in the drugstore, phonebooks, aunties, nieces, mamas, neighbors, cousins, co-workers, working thumbs and a voice.
Instead, what Dick’s telling Angel is that he cares more about her looks than her health. And happiness. Those vows, Dick! Those vows! Dick is telling Angel that her positive life changes don’t matter. Dick rests easy knowing that his spouse’s scalp is continuously burned by a cocktail of chemicals that will flatten and strip all life + uniqueness from otherwise strong, thick kinks and coils. What kind of man …?
Dick, if you’re reading, please know that I do not appreciate you or your kind shutting down the permanent wave that is natural hair. Sure it is just hair, but you’re an African in America and you know that collectively, hair is much much more than just hair to us. Our manes and minds have been pillaged for centuries by e v e r y o n e, including us! And here you are, perpetuating our enslavement and stifling our new growth (pun intended). Dick, you should be applauding the Black woman who chooses the natural route; although it may appear so, thanks to you/society/slavery/lack of support/Black codes/non-African hair promotion + fetishization/whitewashing/hair care aisles/self-loathing negroes/lack of resources/european beauty standards, it’s not always easy to let our natural selves be.
You chose one of the brave ones as a wife, you lucky Dick! You are so fortunate to have a smart, loving Black woman at your side who actually prefers to embrace her natural beauty in a world that condemns + mocks her entire being. Our crowns are a beautiful spectrum of curl patterns and textures and expressions that no other people can claim and we should be celebrating that, Dick. I know how divisive some pro-natural naturalistas can be and that’s not why I’m here. We’re all at different stages with different ideals and I can only pray that all African men and women see the power, strength + beauty in our natural selves. It’s a struggle to dismiss what we’ve been indoctrinated to define as beautiful. No fault of ours, but if we see someone trying to make that shift, let’s just back them for being courageous.
P.S. Shout out to Josie who rocked her natural out for the first time! Whoop! That’s a small step to giant! Keep inspiring 😉
photo © rachelstewartjewelry.com
By Said Shaiye Nearly every culture in the world today is centered around the premise that white is more valuable than black; that white skin carries with it an inherent infallibility and black skin is merely a foregone conclusion of criminality. Whiteness is universally understood to signify innocence, while blackness is intrinsically associated with guilt.…
Whatever you give focused and intense energy or emotion to is what you will tend to experience more of. This is true whether that energy/emotion is positive or negative. Emotions like love, fear, gratitude and anger are all highly energized states and have potent creative power.
So when you let your fear be your dominating emotion about something, you are also simultaneously bringing it to life and making it more real. The same thing happens when you let gratitude be your dominating emotion about something.
If you don’t want something in your life, focus on the opposite of it. Focus on the solution. Resist the temptation to only focus on the problem. Acknowledge the issue, but put most of your energy into creating the reality you prefer.
Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Talk about your blessings more than your burdens. Focus on what you would like to experience more of and you will draw more things like it into your life.
-Ruben Chavez, creator of Think Grow Prosper™
Did you peep the lyrics tho??! More more more of this, please!
Wale, me love you long time!